What to do if you’re going to be deported

“Help, I’m going to be deported! I have to leave the country tomorrow!”

We often hear a variation of this theme down the phone line. Someone calls up because Immigration Officers have turned up at their doorstep, they have been taken into custody, they have had a visa declined, or they get a letter from Immigration New Zealand telling them that they have to leave New Zealand. Any number of things can happen that trigger deportation liability, so no two situations are ever completely the same. We have seen a very noticeable increase in the number of people coming to us who are threatened with deportation – why is this the case?

With Australia’s increasing hard line on immigrants having an impact on New Zealand (both for people who have been deported from Australia trying to get a visa for New Zealand and for the increasingly hard line we are seeing from Immigration New Zealand (INZ) possibly as a result) it is becoming more and more common for us to see people who are getting visas declined and then subsequently getting threatened with removal from the country. If you are in New Zealand and already hold a visa, criminal convictions can be another trigger for deportation liability later on down the track – especially when you go to apply for your Permanent Resident Visa (PRV).

Whatever the cause of your potential deportation liability, it is a scary situation to be in and is something that we don’t like seeing any person to have to go through. However, if something like this does happen to you, what happens? Here is my take on three very frequently asked questions:

1: Do I have to leave New Zealand straight away?

In many cases, the answer is no. If you have a visa declined or you are here unlawfully, INZ’s letters can make it seem as though you must leave straight away or you will be whisked away by Police in the middle of the night. This is often not the case. Most people, depending on when their visa was declined or whatever scenario you find yourself in, have appeal rights which prevent INZ from taking deportation action immediately. However, it is vital that if you believe there is a chance you might be deported that you contact us straight away. Time is of the essence, especially as many appeal rights have strict deadlines for submission.

  1. What are my chances of being able to stay in New Zealand?

It largely depends on why you are liable for deportation. In general, the stronger the connections you have with New Zealand, the better your chances of staying. If you have family here, particularly if they are New Zealand citizens and residents, this can work in your favour. In the case of criminal convictions, the severity of the offence and the offending has a corresponding impact on your chances of staying – for example, a person convicted of common assault might have a better chance of fighting deportation than someone who is convicted of murder. However, every case is different and there are many things that can work in your favour. We know what works and what doesn’t and can give you advice on how realistic your chances of staying are.

  1. If I am deported, will I ever be able to come back to New Zealand?

In a limited number of cases; yes, you might be able to come back one day. However, in general, if you are deported from New Zealand then you might be best to forget ever trying to come back. There are statutory bans on re-entry into New Zealand if you have been deported (often either two or five years) if you have been here unlawfully. However, some more serious causes of deportation liability (like serious criminal convictions, or immigration fraud) can lead to a permanent ban. You are far better off trying to fight against deportation at the outset, rather than trying to get back to New Zealand once you are already gone.

Get advice ASAP

If there is one thing to take away from all of this – if you, a friend or a family member find yourselves in trouble and think you might be deported, contact us immediately. In many cases we can overcome the odds and help keep you in New Zealand. However, leaving things too late can mean you lose any chance you have of staying.

Fighting deportation is a very stressful, long, time consuming and expensive process. However, it is much better to get go out and get good advice, to give yourself the best chance of staying in New Zealand.

 

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10 Responses to What to do if you’re going to be deported

  1. Jan Coetsee says:

    I am gladly sharing this article on Safri-Kiwi (South Africans in New Zealand)’s Facebook Forum.

    Like

    • Mathew Martin - Staff Solicitor says:

      Thank you so much Jan, we appreciate that and hope that it helps anyone facing this unfortunate situation.

      Like

  2. Sandra says:

    Hi My Name is Sandra and i would like to know if my Daughter can come back to New Zealnd.
    She was Deported two times as she was doing illegal job.
    She’s got a kid that was born in nz in 2008 and 2 overseas.
    She’s in a very risky situation at the moment and all her family lives here.
    Myself and her father are Nz Cityzens and her brother and sister are Permanent Residents.
    Is there anything we could do to bring her back to nz ?

    Like

    • It sounds extremely unlikely that she would get any visa to come back here. She may need to seek a Special Direction from the Minister of Immigration to overcome her deportations. She would need to show some really extraordinary reason why she had to be in New Zealand, and provide extensive evidence of why she is in a “risky situation”.
      We do deal successfully with such cases sometimes, and we suggest that she should engage professional assistance to make any sort of request for visa.

      Like

  3. Shahi Marasi says:

    Hi

    I’ve been charged with 1 count of Injury with intent to injure and 2 counts of Assault with intent to injure related to domestic violence (It’s all BS btw). I’ve been a resident for more than 5 years. My lawyer says because the evidence is weak I’m very unlikelly to go jail but in case I am convicted for even a fine or home detention, will I be liable for deportation?

    Like

  4. Jaganath says:

    Hi there!
    My work visa got declined, as I was on Interim visa for that period and got a letter from immigration stating that my work visa has been declined and I am liable for deportation.
    I am really nervous and really don’t know what to do.
    I have consulted few immigration advisers but still I am not satisfied with their approach. I had no other options as time was running out, so opted to go with one immigration advisor and applied for section 61 visa.
    Is there any other possible way to deal with this problem.
    Could you help me in this situation?

    Like

  5. Lisa says:

    Hi , my partner has been in nz for awhile , and he has got a letter for deportation but he’s wanting to make it right by staying here permanently for the sake of his 6month old son and myself…. we do not want him to get deported back. Is there any way we can help him?

    Like

    • He can request a visa under section 61 of the Immigration Act. There is absolutely no guarantee of success. or he could go home and apply to come back. If he has overstayed for a long time then he should get professional help to follow either option.

      Like

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